• Power Minerals to buy advanced Argentina brine asset, offload non-core Santa Ines copper-gold project for $1.5m
  • Australian Strategic Materials signs deal with US based rare earth magnet manufacturer  for the sale of neodymium iron boron (NdFeB) alloy
  • Corazon (nickel, lithium), Sabre (nickel), Euro Manganese (manganese) up on no news

Here are the biggest small cap resources winners in early trade, Tuesday May 16.

 

POWER MINERALS (ASX:PNN)

PNN has gone all in on Argentinian lithium, buying up extra brine assets while offloading its non-core Santa Ines copper-gold project for A$1.5m.

PNN will purchase the extensive Laguna Verde lithium-brine projects in the Catamarca Province from TSX-V-listed Ultra Lithium for up to 50m shares, worth $23.5m at current prices.

It’s more of a merger between PNN and Ultra’s Argentina assets than anything, with Ultra to own a big chunk of PNN shares on issue once the deal completes. Ultra CEO Dr Weiguo Lang will also be appointed to the position of CEO, Argentina Operations, reporting to the PNN board.

The acquisition will expand PNN’s portfolio of lithium development assets in Argentina’s lithium triangle to 2,837.70sqkm, “making it one of the largest lithium landholders in the region and providing it with a significant pipeline of development projects”.

Just last year Ultra Lithium and Chinese co Zangge Mining had pledged US$290m to develop Laguna Verde, before the deal fell through due to Canadian government ban on Chinese investment.

Recent drilling assayed up to 417 parts per million (ppm or mg/L) lithium from two rounds of sampling completed in January – February 2023 down to 230m depth.

PNN plans to work towards the definition of a maiden JORC resource at Laguna Verde in H2, in parallel with ongoing resource drilling at its Salta project.

The $30m capped junior was one of the stocks to receive a boost from last week’s Livent Corp (NYSE:LTHM) – Allkem (ASX:AKE)  ~$15bn merger announcement, which you can read more about here. 

 

CORAZON MINING (ASX:CZN)

(Up on no news)

The battery metals micro-cap is probs due a speeding ticket from the ASX after gaining 60-70% over the past two trading days on no news. Oh wait, there it is.

CZN has three assets: the Lake Lynn project (nickel-cobalt) in Canada, and the Miriam (nickel-lithium) and Mt Gilmore (copper-gold) projects in Australia.

Lake Lynn was a prolific historical nickel-copper-cobalt mining centre that was mined for 24 years before closure in 1976.

Mining studies examining a low-cost operation are now underway.

Exploration is also ongoing to expand the already substantial 16.3Mt resource (116,800t nickel, 54,300t copper, 5300t cobalt).

At Miriam, near Coolgardie in WA, CZN has defined a 2.2km long lithium anomaly across two trends.

Work program approval applications for drilling of these lithium trends — along with drilling to test the Miriam nickel-sulphide trend targets – are underway, the company says.

The $20m capped stock is now at its highest point since February. It had $3.4m in the bank at the end of March.

 

SABRE RESOURCES (ASX:SBR)

(Up on no news)

A small recovery from the nickel sulphide play, which has struggled for traction in 2023.

SBR’s focus is the Sherlock Bay project in the WA Pilbara, where it reckons there’s potential for a significant upgrade to the existing 110,000t NiEq sulphide resource.

A drilling program is set to kick off during the current quarter to expand/potentially upgrade the resource potential at Sherlock Bay and provide a platform for pre-feasibility studies (PFS).

A Scoping Study completed January 2022 highlighted “significant cash-flow potential” at a nickel price of US$10/lb (US$22,000t).

The LME nickel price, which has softened ~27% year-to-date, is currently ~US$21,800/t.

The $9m capped stock is down 10% year-to-date. It had $5.1m in the bank at the end of March.

 

EURO MANGANESE (ASX:EMN)

(Up on no news)

EMN has been hitting the conference trail hard to talk up its Chvaletice manganese project in the Czech Republic.

Squarely focused on the emerging battery market, EMN plans to extract manganese rich tailings from the decommissioned Chvaletice mine and convert them into high purity manganese sulphate material.

Also listed in Toronto and Frankfurt, EMN announced its first offtake agreement in January 2022 in the form of a non-binding deal with Verkor, a low carbon battery manufacturer based in Grenoble in France, whose shareholders include Renault, Schneider Electric, Capgemini and Sibanye-Stillwater.

A 2022 feasibility study envisaged a 48,000tpa manganese production over a 25-year life making $554m revenues per year.

Of that, profit margins would be a lucrative 59%, the company said.

The biggest hurdle is a capex of $757m, but EMN is confident it will be a manganese miner by 2027.

The $90m capped stock is down 20% year-to-date.

 

AUSTRALIAN STRATEGIC MATERIALS (ASX:ASM)

The spin-out from long running NSW gold miner Alkane Resources (ASX:ALK) owns the Dubbo project in NSW, which is expected to produce oxides of zirconium, hafnium, niobium, didymium (NdPr), dysprosium and terbium.

Once a $1.8bn capped stock, ASM has lost a harrowing 90% of its value over the past few years, despite hitting several milestones including the opening of its first ‘critical metals plant’ 115km from Seoul in South Korea.

Today it signed a deal with US based rare earth magnet manufacturer Noveon for the sale of neodymium iron boron (NdFeB) alloy from the Korean metals plant (KMP).

The agreement provides for the sale of 100 tonnes of NdFeB alloy from the KMP, to be delivered to Noveon in accordance with an agreed schedule during the period up to end of March 2024.

Longer term, ASM hopes to ink continuing offtake for rare earth materials.

Dubbo has a 20-year life of mine, with a further 50 years of resource.

An advanced study has wrapped some numbers around the ambitious development including a pre-tax IRR of 23.5%, pre-tax NPV of $2.3m and annual free cash flow of $425m.

It would cost $1.68bn to build.